Monday, September 23, 2013

‘Cats Win! Linfield makes Cal Lutheran bow down in 52-14 victory.

The 'Cats were all smiles in the 'Catdome as they rolled CLU.

Photo Above from Flickr photo stream: korm12

Wow.  That was something else.  While there were many people (including myself) that dismissed the ‘Cats bludgeoning of Hardin-Simmons to the fact that HSU is not a good football team this season, there is no denying that Linfield straight up whooped up on what I think is a very talented Cal Lutheran football team.  The Kingsmen have all the components in place to be a solid top 25 team this season and I think will improve as the season moves along but Linfield exploded to put up 42 consecutive points on CLU after the Kingsmen tied the game at 7 late in the 1st quarter. 

CLU had a few chances to make the game more competitive but Linfield’s defense held up and Cal Lutheran missed two field goals that wound up being critical misses for them as the CLU defense had little to no chance to stop the ‘Cats offensive attack.  Even if they make those field goals it was just a matter of time before Linfield puts CLU to bed.  The ‘Cats offense did what they wanted, when they wanted, and only stopped themselves at times.  You couple that offense with a Linfield defense that was more than able to meet a big physical challenge and the margin for a CLU victory was virtually non-existent.

What is crazy to me is that there is still a LOT of room for improvement for Linfield.  They didn’t come close to playing the best football they could as they were penalized way too much, turned it over a few times,  and can still sharpen up the tackling at times.  If this Linfield team keeps focusing on the next step and looking to improve and get better I don’t know if there is a better team in the country.  There are still some BIG challenges on this schedule and that starts in two weeks when a fine PLU football rolling into the ‘Catdome.  But first the ‘Cats have some business in Ohio to take care before we talk more about the ‘Lutes.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

Awesome Effort:  It was a GREAT effort by the program this past Saturday.  From the players up to the coaching staff.  Linfield was prepared, focused, and ready for the challenge in front of them.  Like I’ve mentioned before there is a level of maturity from this Senior group that trickles down to the rest of the roster and it’s been showing up on game day.

Offensive Production: 80 offensive plays for 655 total yards (8.2 per play.)  I think that’s pretty dang good.  2nd week in a row where the ‘Cats offense looked like an elite unit in division III.  The ‘Cats spread the ball all over the field and it’s great that the staff hasn’t had to overwork a small number of players on the roster. 

Bend but don’t break defense:  The 1st team defense only gave up 7 points on the day to CLU but they were challenged on three other long drives by the Kingsmen.  I thought the defense did a great job in not allowing CLU to establish any sort of down the field passing game and kept the ground game damage to a minimum.  CLU did breakoff one long run on the day and a hit on a trick play but beyond that the 'Cats kept Cal Lutheran at bay.

Wide Receivers:  Coach Smith mentioned this in his post-game comments to the team but the Linfield WR vs the CLU DB match up has been one where Linfield has struggled in the more recent past.   The Linfield WR’s/Yoder/Offensive line/RB's did a great job in the passing game in racking up over 300 yards in passing and 3 passing touchdowns.  It seemed that whenever Linfield needed it a Wildcat receiver was making another big play. 

Linebacking Group:  Dom Forrest and Tim Edmonds piled up 24 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss on the day.  Being a former defensive lineman, I know that 100% of those stats go to the credit of the hard work and sacrifice of the defensive line taking up space so the LB’s can rundown hill without any issues to scoop up the glory but that goes without saying.  Domo and T-Train had a fantastic day for the LBC.

Pass Defense:  I thought our defensive backs had a very nice day in the office.  The ‘Cats only gave up 147 passing yards from the CLU starting QB and with around 50% completion rate.   We have a number of ball hawks in our secondary and I think you’ll see this group play a huge role in Linfield’s success as the season progresses.

The 'Cats were ready from the jump.

The Bad

Nothing I’m going harp on.  You can point to the two picks but those were actually good decisions by Yoder.  The 1st one was a fantastic play by CLU’s safety to get over in time on a long ball and the second bounced off of a Wildcat receivers hand before being picked.  Yoder was very accurate on the day.  Maybe you could say tackling and at time it wasn’t perfect but Chapman is a heck of a running back that is going to light up the SCIAC.  There was one item that stood out the most and it’s in the Ugly below.

The Ugly

Penalties: 14 for 99 yards.  Not good.  I was so fired up after the HSU game because the ‘Cats were flagged only twice but yesterday was an ugly one in the penalty department.  None of the flags were for unsportsmanlike conduct or personal fouls and that’s a great thing.  But we these flags are drive killers for the offense and drive extenders for the defense.   Need to clean this up.

Not an Ugly for Linfield but an Ugly for this CLU former player and father of a high school senior:

Go 'Cats!


Ian Estrada said...

240 bear crawls for the penalties coach Smith. .. Good job cats

Chris said...

I LOVED this game. This is one good team and I too am heartened that there is a lot of room to improve. My biggest items is tackling. Domo gave a clinic to everyone. Tackle hard, with authority and wrap the player up. I think many of the penalties came on the 2nd and 3rd teams, correct?
Yoder is the real deal. If this team can focus on the present...the sky is the limit. Case Western is the only opponent that matters right now.